When I was nine or so, my very favorite book was Barbara Kingsolver's "The Bean Trees." I was definitely too young to understand most of the nuance in it, but for me, it felt like being allowed to listen in on the kinds of conversations my mom would immediately cut short the minute I walked into the room. These were the kinds of things that weighed heavily on adults, I learned: racism, prejudice, forbidden love, found families, and whether your legs passed the "Glamour-Girl test."
Yes, amid a novel full of important themes and heart-stoppingly beautiful passages, the part that I remember the most vividly is a scene wherein the notoriously low-self-esteemed Lou Ann Ruiz tells the narrator, Taylor, that she's always hated her body.
To wit, as Taylor recounts:
She'd told me that in high school she prayed every night for glamour-girl legs, which meant that you could put dimes between the knees, calves and ankles and they would stay put; she claimed her calves would have taken a softball.
As a kid, this baffled me. Having overheard my mother disparagingly tell her best friend that I'd "inherited my grandma's calves," I was pretty sure that my legs were not supposed to be the pinnacle of aspiration. Given that it was the nineties, I myself dreamed of swapping out my strong, stocky frame for the kind of lanky, graceful dancers' limbs that I saw in magazines. It sounded to me like Lou Ann had it made.
Even so, though, the fact that my legs did pass the "glamour-girl test" -- despite it being an arbitrary measure I'd never encountered before or since -- gave me a secret, tiny thrill.
That kind of stuff sticks with you. Now, after 15-odd years of working on self-actualization and Loving My Body and recognizing that no, I'm never going to look like Keira Knightley and that's probably OK, there's still a part of me that got excited when my face passed that stupid finger test Stetten wrote about last week.
Which got me thinking. So long as I'm allowing completely arbitrary tests to determine my self-worth, why not try to popularize some more that I'll be guaranteed to pass?
I would thus like to inform you all of the new beauty standards I'm working on incepting into the minds of our children so that in ten years' time they will look upon me as their aesthetic queen. I'm assuming my coronation will take the form of getting a Tumblr gifset made of my face. Sorry if you don't pass these, but listen, I don't make the rules. (Except when I do.)
Sitting up and typing is so boring -- not to mention a total waste of energy. Enter the newest beauty trend: Tumtop, in which your stomach provides a plateau for you to watch "Brooklyn Nine-Nine", secure in the knowledge that you will never have to move from a supine position. (This also necessitates having boobs small enough that they will not obscure Stephanie Beatriz's wonderful face.)
Walgreen's will soon require an ID to purchase Tic-Tacs thanks to #Tspot, an Instagram craze wherein teens try to store a dozen tiny mints in the space between their collarbones and their trapezius muscle. It has to be exactly a dozen, mind you -- eleven won't last you through eighth period, and thirteen is just greedy.
I assume that Alexander McQueen's designers will popularize this one in the spring of 2017 by placing enormous weights on the toes of their shoes, forcing their models to walk instep-first in order to move. Soon, street style photographers all over the country will catch young urbanites dragging around strings of brightly colored pebbles on their sneakers, trying to evoke the same phenomenon.
"It's like you're a ballerina," one aspiring duck-strutter will tell "Humans of New York." "Except it's, y'know, like the whole world's your stage." People who naturally leave obtuse-angled footprints in the snow, however, will need no such accessory. One Natural Duckstrutter (or NDS-er) will have more than three million subscribers to her YouTube channel, in which she'll show off the way the treads of her shoes become worn into slanted points over months of NDSing. (Eventually this will spark a counter-obsession known as the PigeonToe, but we won't discuss those dark times.)
Life is lonely. But for those of us who can touch both hands behind our backs, it's a little less so. It's just enough of a reach that you temporarily lose object permanence, meaning that it feels like a complete stranger has reached out from the void to warmly grasp your palm.
Suddenly, you've made a connection! Say goodbye to all those losers who have to shake hands with themselves in front of their own eyes.
Celebrity plastic surgeons will call the procedure to achieve this look "The Pirate's Booty" surgery, or possibly "Ol' Bluebeard" for short. Essentially, the only way to find out if you have a great butt is to sit on a wet surface, then sit on a dry one, stand up, and draw two chalk circles around the big doubloon shapes you've left.
If they're perfectly round, congratulations. People will sail the seven seas trying to replicate that ass-print.
Often imitated, never duplicated. If you can't make a cool smiley face by connecting the freckles on your body with a ballpoint pen, you're never gonna run with the big dogs. It's just the way the genetic cookie crumbles, babe.
C'mon, y'all. If people made #bikinibridge happen, at least one of these has to shake out, right? My self-esteem for the next decade depends on it.
Kate is setting trends and making waves at @katchatters.